Tag Archives: Search engine optimization
July 8, 2012

Automatically Generating Rich Snippets For Recipes


I've been blogging on and off about my experiences and progress with dieting over on my diet blog.

One of the things that I've also been doing is sharing recipes for the various things I've been eating.

In order to display them "sanely" I opted for a WordPress plugin called "Easy Recipe" mainly for the display. I wasn't as concerned with the rich snippets and microformat stuff that it also can handle I just wanted recipes to show up clearly.

Here's one for chicken with olives

What's interesting, however, is how it displays in Google search:

Not incredibly exciting, but that will depend on how much data you provide.

Running the recipes through Google's rich snippet tool shows how well it works.

The tool is also handy to check if your site is setup with the "author" attribute for your posts, which you can do via Yoast's SEO plugin

Of course my dieting blog isn't all about recipes and doesn't get that much traffic anyway, but it's still nice to see how using a simple plugin can help with Google and other search engine's understanding what the content is about.



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April 28, 2012

Traffic Levels Returning After A Fix

traffic levels growing

It's been a week since I fixed the issue on a site that had been infected by some malware.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the malware was stealing the site's search engine traffic.

And the graphs show very clearly how things have improved in only a few days:

And if you look at that over the course of a week it's even clearer

Hopefully (fingers crossed) there won't be any other issues for a while (I'd love to say ever again, but let's face it there's always something)



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April 25, 2011

Movable Type To WordPress Permalink Oddness

For some bizarre reason the WordPress importer changes the post names from "thing-other-thing" to "thing_other_thing" ie. replacing the dash with an underscore.

The simplest way to fix it is to run a bit of SQL directly on the database:

update wp_posts set post_name = replace(post_name,'_','-');

Thanks to the person who provided the solution here

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November 1, 2010

Blekko And ScoutJet Revealed

A post on Mashable earlier this evening revealed the launch of a new search engine - Blekko.

I've no idea how well Blekko will do, but its method of displaying results is quite novel:

blekko search results display

But forget the display of the results for a moment. Let's have a quick look at how you search.

In Google and most other search engines you simply shove in a keyword (or two) and hit enter.
If you're a more advanced user you might play around with various operators to refine your results or add certain keywords to the query to tune it more finely.

With Blekko this concept is pushed to the front.

So if you wanted to do a search on say "linux" but only wanted to get back results from blogs you can use what they're calling a "slashtag", so your search query would be:

linux /blogs

Which is quite an elegant way of doing it. Of course there's a lot more to it than simply choosing the type of source. You can also use the slashtag to narrow your query.

It'll even suggest relevant ones for you:

blekko search suggestionsYou can read more about how to use the tags on the help pages of the site.

Since I run several sites I was curious to see how long the search engine had been indexing them. A quick scan of my raw logs shows that they've been actively crawling since at least May 2009: - - [27/May/2009:09:25:32 +0100] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.1" 200 - "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; ScoutJet; +http://www.scoutjet.com/)"

Which leads us to the name of their bot - ScoutJet.

Not only do they give you the UserAgent, but they also give you the IP ranges that it comes from, which is vaguely useful if it misbehaves. Though I can't imagine that it will based on its previous activity. (Unlike VoilaBot!)

So what about the search results display?

If you look at the screenshot above you'll notice that each result is accompanied by a number of links. This is where it gets really fascinating if you're doing SEO. You can get a LOT of information about both your own sites and those of your competitors. While this information is incredibly powerful I can also see some potential for abuse. Of course if all this information is available to everyone then it is a level playing field so to speak ..

I'll be playing around with Blekko more in the future, as it definitely has an interesting angle on search.

I suspect the tech blogs will be talking a lot about it in the coming days...

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August 30, 2008

Google Rapid Inclusion Tool?

Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Getting your site listed in Google is one thing, getting traffic to your site is another.

What's the difference?

Well basically Google pretty much lists every single webpage on the planet, so getting listed or included isn't really that big a deal.

What you really want is people to go to your site and buy your product or service (or take whatever action you want / need).

Now this is where it gets interesting and complicated.

If someone does a search in Google for my name they'll probably end up here pretty quickly. This has very little to do with SEO. It's basically because I have an odd first name and a rather uncommon surname, so most of the results in Google will refer to me.

With me so far?

Ok, so that shows that searching for something very specific is probably going to take you to it. It might not, but it's more likely.

But what if you are running an online business?

Are people going to look for your business by name?

While that might happen eventually it's highly unlikely that it's going to happen when your site first goes live, or even after that.
What's a lot more likely to happen is that people are going to look for a solution to a problem.

For example, if I want to read a review of the Babylon AD (a film released this week) I have a couple of options.
I could go to a site such as entertainment.ie, filmreviews.ie or movies.ie to see if they've got any reviews OR I could simply do a search on Google for "babylon ad". Since I'm interested in a review of the film I might append that to my search query, so it becomes "babylon ad review".

This isn't rocket science.

However if you deal with small business owners on a regular basis you soon realise one thing. A lot of them don't really understand how to use search engines.
They don't understand the difference between their browser's navigation bar and Google.

What this means in practical terms is that people can get duped by promises of "rapid inclusion" or "top ranking" etc., etc.

If someone promises you "free traffic" how are you meant to understand that?

Will you know that the only traffic you can possibly get from Google from a new site is going to be a spider ie. a bit of computer software that isn't going to buy anything

The devil is in the details, though anyone dealing with small business should be very clear about what exactly they are offering.

Damien wrote up a nice piece covering some of this based on what was being discussed on the Enterprise Ireland Ebusiness mailing list. It's worth reading the comments by the way!

James took the entire fluffy link / Google rapid submission tool idea and threw a quick site together

It all gets quite inane yet amusing, doesn't it?

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